Juliet Nowicki was a 13-year-old dancer when she first visited an orthopedist to address nagging knee and hip pain. During the course of her appointment, the doctor discovered that she had a curve in her spine. Although her pain was not associated with the curve, she was diagnosed with scoliosis that day. Though at the time of her diagnosis, her curve degree was less than 10 degrees, a year later it had increased to 25 degrees forcing Juliet and her family to make some difficult decisions about treatment. While the only options offered to her at that point were to wear a Boston brace or undergo surgery, a friend of Juliet’s father who happened to work for a physical therapist who practiced Schroth therapy made another suggestion. Through that physical therapist, Juliet and her family were introduced to Luke Stikeleather, an orthotist trained in Rigo Cheneau bracing at the National Scoliosis Center.
Juliet was fitted with a Rigo Cheneau brace in February of 2014. For the first year, she wore it for about 20 hours a day, and by the 2nd year had decreased her wearing time to 9 hours a day.
“Of course wearing the brace at the beginning was an inconvenience, but it was so much more comfortable than I expected. It was never painful,” she says.
Today Juliet has been out of her brace for almost three years. Looking back, she says that giving up dance was difficult for her, but she attributes her diagnosis and time at National Scoliosis Center to enabling her to explore new interests and opening up opportunities for her to delve into different areas of study. As a young teen, her worry about what clothing she would wear with her new brace soon turned into a fun challenge piquing her interest in fashion. Now, a college freshman at East Carolina University, Juliet has decided to study fashion merchandising and also has an interest in physical therapy.
In fact, Juliet was so happy with and inspired by the treatment she received at the National Scoliosis Center that she volunteered at the center during her senior year in high school, making the experience the topic of her Senior Project. During that time, Juliet helped out with the center’s social media and interacted with new patients. She was especially eager to assure patients and their parents that the decision to come to “Luke’s place” was the right one.
I would assure new patients that there really is nothing to worry about. Luke’s place is absolutely the best place to be. It helped to correct my curve and I had a great experience at the National Scoliosis Center. – Juliet Nowicki